Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Stone Cold Turkey

So now we have an interesting problem. A Turkish F-16 shot down a Russian jet fighter (a Sukhoi Su-24) today that had intentionally flown into Turkish space. The Turks warned it away several times, but it didn't leave. So they blew the thing out of the sky. Then some rebels killed the pilots as they parachuted to the ground. Now have a massive diplomatic problem. Here are my thoughts.

Russian Equipment Sucks: Let me say again, that once more this proves that Russian equipment sucks. For the Russians to lose a fighter plane to a Turkish F-16 is quite an embarrassment. This time there isn't even the excuse that their crappy equipment was being driven by second raters. This was a genuine Russian pilot. And he was shot down by the Turkish Air Force. Russian technology keeps proving itself deficient in major ways.

Time To Walk The Walk: Putin has largely gotten along by talking tough and beating up nearby international midgets. So far, he has been lucky that he's never had to back down because his enemies were wimps like the Germans or dysfunctional basket-cases like the Ukrainians. This time, he's facing a country that has a genuine military and isn't afraid to use it. What's more, the Russians are too stretched to do anything about Turkey. So it will be interesting to see how Putin responds to save face.

As an aside, this was entirely avoidable, except that Putin kept flaunting the airspace issue for weeks. Now he has a crisis he could have avoided with absolute ease.

The Peanut Gallery: Also interestingly, the world seems to be on Turkey's side at the moment (except for Drudge). Generally, I put little faith into "the world" because most of it is run by people with no backbones who are looking only to make it sound like they are principled. This time, however, may be different. With Russian equipment proving to be crap... again. With the price of oil collapsing (and thereby the Russian economy). With Russia showing itself a pimp more than a gangster. I suspect that the world may finally take this moment to slap Putin down. That will be very interesting to see how that plays out.

All That Said: It's too bad that Putin did this because it sounds like he and the French were actually blowing the crap out of ISIS, something Obama's "stern letter" campaign wasn't doing at all.

Nuke 'em If You Got 'em: The one thing I don't see happening out of this is any sort of direct conflict between the US and Russia. It seems rather clear that Putin and the US have been careful enough to orchestrate the dance so that they don't step on each other's toes in such a way that a military exchange is needed. So while I'm sure talk radio will accuse Obama of bringing us to the brink of NUCLEAR WAR (buy Fallout 4!) it strikes me that "the system" has shown itself to be much more carefully arranged than that, even with two total douche bags in running the White House and the Kremlin. That's kind of a relief actually.


Critch said...

After the Persian Gulf War there were lots of Russians and their former allies who were thanking whatever gods they worshipped that they didn't have to go up against the US and NATO in Western Europe. Our equipment, training and tactics, as well as those of our allies were far superior to anything the Eastern Bloc had fielded. The Russians love to push the boundaries and this time the Turks responded as they always did, they pushed back. You would think the Russians would have figured it out by now. I wish Americans would stop making Putin out to be some sort of hero; he's a megalomaniac. I have had the opportunity over the years to see Russian aircraft and equipment up close, it's junk, it's crude. It's built for peasants. I like SKS rifles, but not AK-47s for a variety of reasons. Both are reliable, but the SKS is more practical and far more accurate. If you want a good military style rifle, get an AR-15 or an SKS. The Russians that were in the desert with me were poor as church mice, most everything they had we gave them or they stole.

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, That's exactly how I've always heard the Russian equipment described -- built for peasants. It's easy to produce and fairly reliable in the field. But it's not high quality. It does not have great capabilities. It is not "first world" in any respect.

YET... the left spent the 1980s and the mid-2000s telling us that the Russians were building equipment that would beat our lousy, defective "evil defense contractor made" garbage. Surprise. Not true.

Even now, the left is touting some new Russian tank as so superior to ours that we should run if we see one. Yeah, right.

On Putin, I wish people would wake up to this too. It's great that he's blowing up ISIS, but the man is a megalomaniac who wants to be seen as the most important man on Earth. He is not someone who will make things better. He is, in fact, a danger.

Critch said...

Maybe Putin and Martin O'Malley should have a wet t-shirt contest....

LL said...

The Turks claim they had the right to shoot, but it was not a smart move. It makes Turkey appear to be providing air support to extreme Islamic terrorists. Russia, the US and the rest of NATO have long known that Turkey has been a primary supporter of the Islamic State since its inception. Now the Turks have acted openly as accomplices to terrorism, especially if the Turkish fighters operated in Syria.

The Russians will avenge this shoot down. They subscribe to the Israeli doctrine of asymmetric punishment. (as do I)

Russia has many options for retaliation, such as a Russian ambush of Turkish jets operating in Syrian airspace against Syrian Kurdish positions which they regularly do. Russian air defense missiles at Humaymim near Latakia and from the cruiser Moskva easily can reach the Turkish border. The Syrians have given the Russians permission to defend Syrian airspace. Now they will.

And the US needs to decide NOW where it stands on the issue. Naturally we won't.

AndrewPrice said...

Good idea! They could douse each other in Vodka and quote Trotsky as throngs of rich "oppressed" college kids cheer and whine about how bad they have it.

AndrewPrice said...

LL, Obama has been very clear on where he stands. Why, it's obvious! He will not stand for the GOP standing in his way on implementing his policy which is so obvious that he doesn't even need to explain it. We firmly support the things we support, and we will not stand for them to be de-supported by the very people who would oppose us. Clear?

No, it wasn't a good idea, but I doubt Putin will do anything about it. If he does, he is inviting, essentially, a low-grade war with Turkey and I don't think he can afford that.

Critch said...

Russia and Turkey were always taking shots at each other during the Cold War...There is no love lost between them anyway...as an Old Cold Warrior, I have little if any sympathy for the Russians..

Post a Comment